* Tax cuts planned
* Government plans to prohibit debt taking
By Marja Novak
LJUBLJANA, March 8 (Reuters) - A team from the European Union will visit euro zone member Slovenia in April to assess economic policy, following a visit by teams from the European Central Bank (ECB) and Brussels this week, Finance Minister Janez Sustersic said on Thursday.
The visits were scheduled after all of the major agencies made cuts in Slovenia’s credit rating, citing factors including a deteriorating banking system, rising budget deficit and the lack of reform to help the ailing economy.
“The visit of the EU mission next month will be a serious survey of our economic policy ... which will end with suggestions and proposals to us in line with the purpose of such visits,” Sustersic told a news conference.
He also said the government planned to cut profit and income taxes in order to boost the economy which contracted by 0.2 percent in 2011 amid lower export demand and poor domestic spending and could shrink further this year.
The government plans to change the constitution so as to prohibit the taking on of new debt, he said, in line with EU demands, except in the event of a natural catastrophy or severe recession.
The new centre-right government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa, which took office last month after a December snap general election, has pledged to cut the budget deficit to some 3.5 percent this year from about 6 percent in 2011 and scrap it by the end of 2015.
Slovenia’s public debt soared to some 47.4 percent of GDP last year, double the levels when it joined the euro in 2007.
The government and the Bank of Slovenia gave no details of the two-day visit from the teams from the ECB and the EU, which will end on Friday, but Sustersic said the teams, whose task is to assess the health of Slovenia’s financial sector, were positive about the actions of the new government so far. (Reporting by Marja Novak, editing by Patrick Graham)